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1955 San Diego mayoral election

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1955 San Diego mayoral election
Flag of San Diego, California.svg

← 1951 April 19, 1955 (1955-04-19) 1959 →
 
Charles Dail.jpg
Nominee Charles Dail Harry L. Foster
Party Democratic Nonpartisan
Popular vote 42,897 41,660
Percentage 50.7% 49.3%

Mayor before election

John D. Butler
Republican

Elected Mayor

Charles Dail
Democratic

The 1955 San Diego mayoral election was held on April 19, 1955 to elect the mayor for San Diego. Incumbent mayor John D. Butler did not stand for reelection. In the primary election, Charles Dail and Harry L. Foster received the most votes and advanced to a runoff election. Dail was then elected mayor with a majority of the votes in the runoff.

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Transcription

>> Good afternoon, and welcome to the William G. McGowan Theater at the National Archives. I’m David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, and I’m pleased you could join us, whether you are here in the theater or joining us through YouTube or CSPAN BookTV. Before we hear from Kyle Longley about his new book, LBJ’s 1968, I’d like to tell you about two other programs coming up soon here in the McGowan Theater. Tonight at 7:30, in partnership with the Center for the Constitution at James Madison’s Montpelier, we present a panel discussion about the United States Constitution. In a program called “For Us, By Us: America's Trust In & Expectations of, The Constitution,” moderator Judy Woodruff will lead a discussion of the results of a national survey conducted by James Madison’s Montpelier, created with the goal of better understanding how Americans relate to our government and its founding document. On Wednesday, September 26, at noon, Mark Leibovich will be here to tell us about his latest book, Big Game: The NFL in Dangerous Times. A book signing will follow the program. You may think a sports book is strange fodder for the National Archives but we are getting for ready for a big exhibit in 20 20 all American sports in the United States. Check our website, Archives.gov, or sign up at the table outside the theater to get email updates. You’ll also find information about other National Archives programs and activities. Another way to get more involved with the National Archives is to become a member of the National Archives Foundation. The Foundation supports the work of the agency, especially its education and outreach programs. Check out their website— archivesfoundation.org—to learn more about them and join online. The year 1968 was a year of turmoil—a year that left a deep impression on those who lived through it. Newspaper and the nightly news were crowded with stories of unrest, civil rights, assassinations, and—looming over all that—the war in Vietnam. Upstairs in the O’Brien Gallery, our exhibit “Remembering Vietnam” examines the war from its World War II origins to the fall of Saigon. In the section that covers the events of 1968, you’ll find a page from President Lyndon Johnson’s March 31 televised speech to the nation. In concluding his speech, he made the surprising announcement that he would not run for President in the coming election. LBJ reflected back on 1968: “I sometimes felt I was living in a continuous nightmare.” It was a year of challenges, and we turn to Kyle Longley now to hear how LBJ met them. I’m very happy to introduce Kyle, who happens to be one of the newest staff members to join the National Archives and Records Administration. In late July, Kyle became the fifth director of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library in Austin, Texas. He came to us from Arizona State University, where he was a professor of history and political science and held a number of administrative positions including associate director of the School of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies and faculty head of the History Department. He has also been active in national academic organizations including the American Historical Association, the Organization of American Historians, and the Society of Historians of American Foreign Relations. Kyle Longley is also prize-winning author who has published or edited eight books with another coming out in January 2019. He has also contributed to Newsweek, the Washington Post, New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Kyle Longley. [APPLAUSE] >> KYLE: I'm so happy to be here in D.C., although I joked we had two weeks of rain in Austin, haven't seen the sun and hoping to get away from that, but unfortunately I came to more rain. But we are happy we were getting the rain but 12 and a half inches in two weeks is a little much for me especially after leaving Arizona where you get 8 inches for the whole year. It has been a transition but I'm so happy to be here and happy to be part of the National Archives staff. I'm so fortunate I'm leading a library which I always worked in or at least for the last 20 years and it has an incredible staff. That's one of the reasons when they called me to ask me to apply for the job. I said yes. I knew it was an incredible place to be with incredible archivist and people that developed a museum and we tie in very well and about to finish a series called get in the game about race and gender in the American society which has been the major exhibit since April. We are looking forward to another one starting next April on Motown. Again, leading such an organization within the larger organization has been a great honor and will continue to be. I'm very happy to come here today to talk about LBJ 1968. David did an incredible job and we didn't even coordinate on this setting up the presentation. What I want to do today is it is a larger book and looks at major issues like the Pueblo incident, Tet offensive, assassinations of Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King, the Fortas affair, nomination and Democratic National Convention and many of you, I'm looking across the room, there a a few who were of age and remember not many, bu II see a few that might have. People ask me what do you remember? Well, I was five but don't remember a whole lot, but as a historian I got to know the topic quite well. This is a place -- this is something that the meant a lot to me because many of the other books related to the '60s including two books on combat soldiers in Vietnam -- I will a quick story. David, the first time I met him, I presented him with copy of my book called Grunts: the American Combat Soldier in Vietnam knowing that he, himself, was a veteran, and Ido appreciate all the National Archives has done, especially This last year I respect the exhibition on Vietnam. This is something we are going to continue to discuss, not going away, taught it every semester when I was in Arizona State and people would say - they getting tired of it? And the answer is no, the 60's unequivocally no. But let me start today, and David did a great job of setting this up, without us even planning I will spend my entire presentation on the March 31st decision because I would bet many of you were old enough remember where you were when you heard the announcement. I found that time and time again. So I would like to set that up and use that as sort of ploy on this and again understanding the book covers a great deal more. But to give a shotgun approach won't be as effective as diving into one particular incident and really, that I would argue was a transformative period watershed in American history, that is the March 31st 1968 speech which then transformed even moreso the rest of the year. So it begins. Sunday, March 31st, started with early morning wake-up call for the President Johnson and his wife Ladybird who hurried to dress to go meet their daughter Linda who had taken a red eye flight from. San Diego. there she had left behind her husband Chuck Robb. Captain Chuck Robb who was preparing to head to Vietnam. Tired and several months pregnant Linda arrived around 7:00 a.m. and she looked exhaustive, so much so that Ladybird characterized her as appearing like a ghost, pale, tall and drooping. and LBJ concurred she seemed lonely and bewildered and separation -- war and separation were cruel intrusions into her young life. Obviously distraught after leaving her husband, Linda looked at father and asked, quote, why was her husband going to -- away to fight and maybe die for people who did not even want to be protected, end quote. Speechless LBJ said he wanted to comfort her but could not. Linda's question deeply wounded her father. Ladybird found him afterward observed his face was sagging and there was such pain in his eyes as I had not seen since his mother died. And it is Vietnam that is ultimately going to be the Achilles heel, as one person described it the arsenic to bring down the Johnson presidency. "That Bitch of a War on other side of the world" as the President sometimes referred to the quagmire that consumed him. Consumed the country with daily reminders on television and newspapers of the dead and others who became permanently disabled Johnson rarely went anywhere without someone protesting U.S. involvement in Southeast Asia and it would cause him to go from wild mood swings between anger and melancholy and had dramatic effect. But by 9 am that morning he headed to the west hall to meet with this former speech writer who occasionally came in and did special speeches for him, Horace Busby. "here, take some notes" Johnson instructed his old friend. Busby worried and keep many mind, the President in State of the Union speech in January carried a speech announcing he would not seek reelection. Busby had written it that time. President decided not to pull -- decided to pull it. Busby worried that this was just going to be another repeat of the January State of the Union. So he asked the President very earnestly and he said, sir, are you really serious about this? Johnson responds, I don't know whether I would live out another four-year term here. I want out of this cage. Busby knew that many people opposed the President and not seeking re-election and one coming up right now almost four years -- 16 years to the date when Harry Truman had made the same decision. Busby presses him and says everyone around you thinks you will do anything to hang on to the power. This impression colored the whole public reaction to your presidency. He continued. I personally feel that if you take the step it will help in the long-term of the people that see better all that you have accomplished in your administration. Johnson responds, yes, I think you're right, I think that is very compelling. After a short pause they continue the conversation. Johnson says to Busby, I rather like what you wrote in January and instructed Busby to put together a draft and stay in the treaty room and work on it. Don't let a soul know you're over here. Then he headed toward the elevator. There Busby asking him the obvious question. What do you think your chances are going through with it? The President stopped, thought for a moment and replied 80/20 against it. Soon the President headed out to church with his daughter Luci and her husband, Pat Nugent to St. Dominic's. The day before had been a warm an pleasant day. The cherry blossoms were in bloom but this day was dark and dreary and rainy and reflected both the mood of the President and country. As he sat there in mass at St. Dominic's Catholic Church he thought to himself whenever I walk through the red room and saw a portrait of Woodrow Wilson hanging there and thought of him stretched out up there in the White House, powerless to move with the machinery of American government in disarray around him and this was going to be an important factor why the president decided not to seek re-election. He talked about his serious heart attack in 1955. I will digress, he almost died in 1955, he was out in northern Virginia visiting a lobbyist there, the Brown family. And what was ironic about it, he was in the process of having a major coronary. They searched for ambulance and there's no ambulance to be found so they ultimately decide they are going to send him in hearse and drive him in hearse from northern Virginia to Bethesda. And when he gets there the first question he asked the doctor is if he would be able to smoke and doctor said obviously no. He said can I have just one last one? Doctor said okay and as he finishes cigerette he flatlines. That's how close he was to death and had dramatic effect as well as that of his family history where none of the Johnson men lived past 60. He had a grandmother who had a stroke and who would sit there in the family parlor and be unable to communicate. Those things sink into his mind. He didn't want to end up like Woodrow Wilson. But there were always the other things. The stress was high. Summer 1967 had been a horrible summer with the race riots in Detroit. Vietnam, the protest in the streets. I was talking to a friend before. Talking about -- one of your fellow colleagues. Talking about his mom and dad took him to war protests and how he remembered the march on Washington and remembered as a young child. Johnson ultimately settles and couple things that are important here. The issue of Vietnam has created divisions in hostilities among Americans as I had feared. Setting up to you on cold Saturday morning he pondered wanting to quote "heal some of the wounds and restore unity to the nation. This speech might help do that. I deeply hope so." I think there's another level to it that has now been added. It is personal. His son-in-law, was in the process of heading to Vietnam and the other, Luci's husband, was in the process of shipping out within the next four to six weeks, so it suddenly became even more real. This is not to say Lyndon Johnson didn't let every casualty affect him. He did. He was deeply wounded. He was deeply affected. You see that in the cover of my book, that famous shot of him in the cabinet room. with his head in his hands as he listening to Chuck Robb outline the loss of several men, and by '68 it had taken a terrible toll. I know some are sitting there going he brought it on himself. To a degree that's true. But there were a lot of other factors pushing him and he always commented and my favorite one is I always felt like a big old catfish looking at a worm and knowing its a hook and unable not to bite into it. When he was talking about Vietnam.There's others - the Texas hailstorm- and a number of other things. As he left he announced it to Luci and he was hoping for a good response that, dad, I'm really happy that you're going to do this. She said it is far more complicated than that. But deep down here is what I think is important and not everybody will agree with this and not everyone has, I truly believe there were two major things playing out and one is health issues. He did not think he was going to make it and day after Richard Nixon -- if I'm not mistaken, day after Richard Nixon is inaugurated in 1973 Lyndon Johnson died, massive coronary. Again, he also sees this as a chance to resurrect his legacy. Not only just in Vietnam, he is also focusing on arms control, trying to get arms control with Soviet Union, also trying to do some work with the Chinese, all related of course, and triangulated to Vietnam and always first thing and last thing he thinks about for the most part and each and every day. It is important to keep in mind. So that afternoon he went around. He sort of played -- this was typical Lyndon Johnson and go to different people, ask what the opinion was. But he did ultimately come back to Busby and made rounds around the White House and as he bursts in when he came to visit Busby notes this long face sagged, the firmness was gone, a deep melancholy filled his eyes and seemed impossibly tired. The President asked him immediately, well judge, how much have you finished, a sentence or two which was Busby's way of editing. Instead Busby handed him four pages and Johnson's large hands immediately flew up and he said damn, you must really want me out of this town. Johnson circles the room playing with coins in his pockets and jiggly sound disturbing the quiet room, finally exclaims - and this reads much better. Slapped Busby on the shoulder and laughed loudly, you may make a speech writer yet, considering that Busby had written most of his most famous ones in 1964 and 1965, that was quite a compliment. President took the draft and quarter of an hour later returned and starts pacing the room. Eyes going to the ceiling. After two minutes or so moves to small circular table in the middle of the room and took out his pen and started scribbling notes. This was the teacher in him. He can never go without editing. Finished editing, he took the draft and started out of the room, but suddenly stopped - Here you better take this. I'm going over to the west wing for awhile and might fall into my pocket and don't want this in the hand of my enemy. After this delivered the message to several important people, especially his wife. He met with Arthur and his wife, Matilda, as well as Ladybird. Here he is outlining the last section of the speech and I bet most of you remember this one very much. I shall not see and would not accept the nomination of my party for another term as your President. Arthur bellowed, - You can't mean this, Matilda murmured oh no, oh no but Ladybird stunned somewhat, started taking notes and typical of her and she was already preparing. He knew she had ambivalence about this. She would never shrink from one last fight, quote, if we lost, well, well and good, we are free. Simultaneously she acknowledged if we didn't run we could be free without all the draining of our friends. Deep down she feared he would not do it. She had seen it throughout his career whether in 1964 or Atlantic City convention I don't need to run, how can people respect me and 1948 when goes into depression as fighting out the closeness of the Senate race, the Democratic nomination. But she still thought and she did enunciate. Maybe it was the calm and she did say that maybe it was time. Maybe it was the calm finality in Lyndon's -- voice and maybe we believed him for the first time. Well, he returns to Busby again Song and dance. Well, Buzz, they are all against you. You never ever better go into the West Wing again. Busby thought to himself I knew he must be testing all the reactions. Still deliberating and still wanting to know what others thought before he decided what he finally thought. This was not abnormal and outside of his style. He goes ahead and he praises this. It does appear like it is going to be more final. Within a half hour he returns with his trusted assistant and after making few minor adjustments he hands it to her, the draft to her, to type it and then exits. as they are sitting there Busby in the room making a few more changes she sat next to him saying nothing but obviously angry. What do you think about it, he asks? I will type it she responded icily. Are you for it? I am not. This is going to be important because there were a lot of people opposed to this. They didn't want the President stepping out. They thought several things would be a problem. One is sometimes people presented to me and thought he was just not going to run because Robert Kennedy gotten in the race and didn't relish a fight with Robert Kennedy. My argument is look at polling numbers, look at structure in March of 1968. Johnson still had a very good chance of winning. Several things. McCarthy and Kennedy will split the vote. Two, the system at the time basically unit rule where basically was all super delegates with few respecting primary results and Johnson's polling numbers are actually fairly high compared -- they had polling numbers in March of 1968 against everyone he won, including Nixon by substantial margin against Nixon only Nelson Rockefeller got close to Johnson in 1968 polls. So I think that's a mistake to think that Johnson would run away from a fight, especially against Bobby Kennedy, who he despised. I put Johnson and Robert Kennedy's competition up there with Hamilton and Burr and there are very few I can match in American history. I once did that on FaceBook with my friends. Who compares, Grant and Sumner over the Dominican Republic but weren't many. He did have support for going ahead and making decision, including Governor John Connally, one of his closest confidants. Connally had called through George Christian, the press secretary, and said to the President, not directly and I will explain why in a moment. Tonight is better than tomorrow night. Last night would have been better than tonight because time is running out. He ended up by castigating the President and saying no more agonizing reappraisals. The response Busby asked why LBJ didn't call directly. George Christian laughed heartily. Haven't you heard? Everything is normal between them. They are not speaking these days. Johnson made Connolly very mad when he appointed Sergeant Shriver as ambassador to France. This wasn't outside the norm either. By the late afternoon fog enveloped many of the people in the White House. Ladybird characterized it as a strange afternoon and evening. People looked at each other helplessly, silent, exploding and wanting to do something but what and how dare I do anything with the decisions so momentous. One I could by no means implement or take the responsibility for making it turn out right. As she said as the time drug on, looking at hands of the clock and counting hours to 9:00 p.m. So as they get close the President gets close again whole group of people, Clark Clifford had been there with Harry Truman when made the announcement March 1952 that he would not seek re-election. Just going back over this -- March 29th, 1952. People kept debating, is he going to do it, is he not. Some still leaned that he wouldn't. Marvin Watson one of the people closest to him told the secretary, LBJ had not made up his mind. At 7:45 p.m. regarding whether he will run or not. Even Ladybird wavered, wondering about the State of the Union speech and here is the best line in the whole story. LBJ admitted, quote, when did I make the decision that the I announced evening of March 31st, 1968, the speech started at nine and I made my decision at 9:01. So as tension fills the White House, as people know this is being debated, the President does enter the oval office 15 minutes before the speech is to start. Wearing a dark black suit, burgundy tie, looking very calm and collected and I was happy to hear there was some of the materials in the Vietnam exhibition related to this speech. Just before 9:00 though Ladybird walks over to the large dark mahogany desk where her husband sat and noticed the lines in his face were deep, but there was a marvelous sort of repose overall and leaned him and said remember pacing and drama. Then she returns to her seat and as she takes her seat he begins. Tonight I want to speak to you of peace in Vietnam and Southeast Asia. No other questions so preoccupies our people. Nearly 20 minutes Johnson focused on jump starting the peace process. He stressed - quote Tonight have ordered our aircraft and our Naval vessels to make no attacks on Vietnam, he is going to tell this national audience. He made only the exception of north of the DMZ where enemy forces continued to mobilize near Khe Son. As he moved toward the end, it got really serious. With America's sons in the fields far away. With America's future under challenge right here at home. With our hopes and world hopes for peace in the balance everyday. I do not believe that I should devote another hour or day of my time to any personal partisan causes or to any duties other than that of the awesome duties of the Presidency of the United States. Accordingly I shall not seek and I will not accept the nomination of my party for another term as your President. Waste little time making the transition. With the rhetorical flourish of made JFK. But let men everywhere however strong , a confident and vigilant America stands ready tonight to seek an honorable peace and stands ready tonight to defend an honored cause. Whatever the price, whatever the burden, whatever the sacrifices and duty may require. Good night and God bless all. I know and I talked to Jen, so many people. Remember exactly probably where you were and this was a collective gasp when he made this announcement and people looked at each other. I got a great picture -- I don't think it is in the book but used in presentations students at Kent State looking at each other like did we just hear that? Is that what we just heard, the President saying he would not seek re-election? And the answer was yes. Sitting at the desk as the lights dimmed LBJ felt the weight of the world lifted off him. All day he has struggled with the decision. He did it and gladly so. Now he could escape the dungeon of the presidency but hopefully not before securing a path to peace in Vietnam and reducing the blemish on his record. As he finished the family surrounded him as they were typically would do. Luci hugging him, fighting back the tears and emotional one, younger one, Linda there to support her father and of course Ladybird who had been there through thick and thin. Deep down Ladybird expressed relief, again, she didn't know until the end whether he would actually announce it. She knew about it, but she'd seen him do it before. As he leaves, he heads upstairs. And there, they are already abuzz. Richard Daley calls him and says - We are going to draft you- That would play out a little bit later in the story in summer of 1968. At one point Ladybird took a call from Abigail McCarthy, when he made the announcement I could only think of you standing in front of the Wilson portrait. She understand the reference. Symbolized the toll that it always took on a President. He had been there up for nearly 15 hours and night was not over for LBJ. He changed into a blue turtleneck and worked the roomappearing and light-hearted and happy and relieved. Then he left at 11:00 p.m. to meet a group of 35 reporters and gathered in the yellow room. enjoying the sight of shocked journalists you can see them wanting and clamoring and one of the questions they said, how revocable is your decision? Just as irrevocable as the statement says, he snapped. Completely irrevocable. You just take the statement and read it. There were no shalls, no buts, I made it will. Later another asked if sacrificed himself. No, no, I'm not sacrificing anything. I'm doing what I think is right, what is best calculated to permit me to render the maximum possible service in the limited amount of time I have left. After the press conference ends the President retired to his living quarters. About midnight he sees Arthur Krim. He said he was never sure of any decision I made in my life and never made any more unselfish ones. He zeroed in on the 525,000 men whose very lives depended on what I do and I can't worry about the primaries. Now we will be working full time for those men out there. Only guys who won't be back here by the time my term ends are guys left in the last day or two. We know how that worked out. But he did truly I do think deep down. He truly thought he could pull off a miracle. He had a new crusade, likely, his last. The effort to find way to extricate the United States from Vietnam became an all-consuming effort. One that dominated the last nine months of his presidency and ensured some gains but ultimately undermind by inability to let people, others, including vice president, shape the outcome as well as Nixon campaigns efforts undermining the last minute negotiations and in Paris but it became the major part of his struggle to try to resurrect his legacy. Again, we know the outcome. But we also know that the fundamental change that occurred that day changed America. It changed the outcome in Vietnam, not necessarily for the best but it did change the trajectory. After this point you rarely see anyone talking about the idea of winning victory. It is about negotiating even by the Nixon people. a just and fair withdrawal . This is important. March 31st transformed America. Lyndon Johnson did this. Unfortunately for him other things intercede. Just a few days later Martin Luther King was assassinated and many of the gains that had been sought and won, because He flipped his numbers overnight from about 40% support to 60, but four days later the country broke apart and that changed the trajectory also, as well as many other tragedies that happened that year and I outline those in the book. So at that point I will say -- I will stop here and I will take some questions. Thank you for your attention. [APPLAUSE] >> KYLE: Yes, sir. >> Mr. Longley, thank you so much for being here today. I'm a college student here in the Washington D.C. area. When I was in middle school in 2006 I did research at the LBJ library and that truly was a formative experience. >> KYLE: I like to hear that as director. >> I had the opportunity to visit library again in August 2017 -- 2017 and what my question is is there are several -- there are numerous accounts of President Johnson's meeting. Do you know where President Johnson's final meeting with Dr. King was? >> KYLE: That's a good question. I don't have an answer. I'm smart enough to know but I have people that have the answer. I'm glad you brought that up. April 3rd meeting says so much about the rivalry between the two. If you don't mind, I will tell the story. Give me e-mail and I will have my people find that answer out on the King. What happened was right after he announced he was not going to seek re-election Robert Kennedy comes trying to determine whether the President would stay out of short of the fray in the Democratic primary and see who the cabinet members can go and make their own decisions. What's interesting about it is Johnson at the end of the meeting and goes to his people well, play me back the tape. They went to play the tape and there was nothing on it. Bobby Kennedy brought a scrambler to the meeting. So it is a great story and I'm sorry I can't answer the other one, but I will say it is probably back before King made that famous speech on Vietnam in 1967. After that it is pretty much irreparable, the damage. >> Thank you for your presentation. So there's no confusion, in the '60s, Johnson is stop the war and better peace and justice justice for people. Then Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King are assassinated and whole society seems to be getting worse and worse. is for peace or for society and vicious cycle. >> KYLE: That's a great question. It is extremely complex and I could write a dissertation of it. My wife warns me as historian by training to keep my answers short and to the point. For example, civil rights area he is still seeking justice. The race riots in '65 and '67 in Newark and Detroit lead to a lot of counter backlash. I always said if I had to tell people to read to understand the last 50 years of America and issues of race is book by Dan Carter called The Politics of Rage about George Wallace and how he was able to tap into that backlash. Peace and Vietnam more complex. I really don't think he was truly committed. He had given the San Antonio formula in August 1967 which was a way toward peace but north Vietnamese weren't interested. I think the peace movement really begins, one after the Tet offensive and then one with the March 31st because they had been debating the issues and I could go into great detail and I go into the book how the Tet offensive changed whole dynamic and Johnson said we can't win like this, got to find a just and equitable peace but still fundamental to that peace is South Vietnam and being able to survive on its own. Again, I could go into much greater detail. It is complex, nuance and Johnson would change his mind after the decision sometimes daily on Vietnam. It was whoever he was listening to at the time. It was complex and this struggle -- here is what I say about Johnson, pivotal year 1966. '64, '65 great accomplishments, '66 Congressional races happen and you see the Democrats lose 47 seats, changes dynamic and ones that come in are more conservative and align with the conservative southern Democrats and basically stall Johnson's program, which has been made in argument in number of books. More complex than I can give in 2-minute, 3-minute answer but I do think it is one word, disgusting. Thank you. Yes, sir. >> Always have to say I'm not from the United States, I'm from the Caribbean, small island in the Caribbean. >> Wish I was there today. >> Wish I was too. >> I want to ask a few questions because there's a sense that going into Vietnam which to some extent he inherited from Kennedy. Goes back to 1950s. No question about this. But direct outcome of obviously the cold war and in competition, but did he at some point -- surrounded by the so-called best and brightest, right? To an extent also inherited from Kennedy. Was there any serious debate at certain points to say this war doesn't make any more sense or certain inherent momentum taking place. >> KYLE: Let me answer as they come. Only been on the job two months and still have me running very quickly and mind is always racing. Let me take the two questions -- or the first question. Were there serious debates about not continuing along the path in Vietnam. I would answer absolutely not. There were some voices of dissent but if you read the book Choosing War I think is a classic and read HR McMasters work, Dereliction of Duty and there wasn't a serious debate and it was incremental that ultimately will cost the United States and this is where you see long-term debate still going on and discuss Vietnam all day. The idea of, you know, why didn't we go all in versus incremental or other extreme why didn't we get out when we saw this was not going to go well because there were a lot of questions, typically raised time and time again, about ability of south Vietnamese government to stand on its own. Notice I will not answer it directly because what I was always taught give more information and read the other books because it is giving more complex than just giving more short answer. So these guys I think do a really good job. Again, Fred and Frank and others and one of the staff walked in my office the other day and saw row and row of books on Vietnam I read. And they said I didn't realize there was that much on Vietnam. I said you ought to see what I have at home. Second question. Second question? >> You touched on it. I think it is called the - affair under Nixon. We know he was tremendously troubled about this issue and at certain points even played with the idea of confronting Nixon openly speaking about it how do you see him not really -- there was a complex reason why he doesn't do it. >> KYLE: I will give you three. >> How do you see that in the beginning as kind of a potential fundamental corruption of what we have seen with the presidency? Iran Contra Affair, what is going on now, stood up and confronted Nixon, would all the problems that would have led to, do you believe that is better idea looking back from now or do you believe the complexity of the situation, political cost and stuff like that. >> KYLE: I will give you my answer. Three major reasons Lyndon Johnson did not confront Nixon. He did confront Nixon and gave information to Hubert Humphrey who also chose not to use it and number of things that are going to play out about this. Ken Hughes wonderful book on the Chinault Affair and Nixon is very good too. Two reasons, one is very late in the process and he's not sure it would have made difference especially as they gather more information. Two, he would have had to admit he had been spying on American citizens as well as bugging the south Vietnamese embassy and spying on the presidential palace in Saigon and doesn't look good. He didn't want to diminish the presidency because he thought Nixon was going to win and it was a constitutional crisis. Here is an interesting thing. Had Johnson lived past 1973. Say he lives to 1976, how deeply would he have regretted the decision? He didn't see Watergate break. He died before Watergate broke. I think if he had lived longer I think he had have seriously regretted not bringing that information. I wrote an interesting op ed of the comparisons between President Obama and President Johnson on what to let out there. I think this played a lot to degree and also not wanting to appear partisan.. But I think he woul have regretted it. That's the way I'm going to answer it. We know through the church committee hearings what was going on and know through the Pentagon this had been going on a very long time especially since FDR so don't think it would have made that much difference and had the church committee hearings and had Watergate. Did that stop it? No, absolutely not. One segment I'm not sure what would have made difference to you. Let's do the tag team. >> My grandparents invited all of their adult children and all of their grandchildren to look at the speech. All adults in the room thought for sure that Johnson would announce his re-election. I'm going to clean up the language but my grand mom said all the elderly people and African-Americans will vote for him and he will win. Everyone was absolutely shocked. There was a feeling that, you know, there goes Vietnam. There goes Vietnam. There's no reason for us to be there. We had had a chance but if he pulls out of the race -- my question though is how did members of Congress react to the speech and were they any more friendly to any parts of his legislative package? >> KYLE: Yeah, I have written a biography of Albert Gore senior and he said glowing words about the President's decision. The problem is four days later there was the King assassination and all things broke loose and all gains that had been garnered are lost almost immediately, had that not happened it might have changed some of the dynamics. and we know what continues to transpire by June, the assassination of Bobby Kennedy, the Democratic National Convention and into the election but your grandmother was point was well made and this is one I make time and time again. I think had Johnson had -- Hubert Humphrey came close. Hubert Humphrey had no support in the south. Lyndon Johnson still held on to a lot of support in the south. Wallace was dividing that up and Nixon trouble in the south and doesn't develop strategies until 1970. I think there's a high probability. I agree with your grandmother, there would have been high probability he would have held on. People did not necessarily trust Nixon and Wallace was cutting into his gains and south would have been much more likely to vote for Lyndon Johnson. So the problem is, you know, old saying is poor Hubert, poor, poor Hubert. He had a great statement and talked about this right before -- I got this in the book. My ties Johnson were so strong and didn't matter what I did. I could have taken a portion of the President and pissed him in Times Square and people who have said what took you so long. I think that wraps it up pretty good. I talk about it in the book. President did undermine Humphrey especially in the August period and did damage his opportunities to be President. I talk about that in great detail on the Democratic National Convention chapter. >> I kind of disagree with his grandmother. I was 17 in 1968. It seemed at the time and since I'm not sure that he would have even gotten a nomination, let alone won and war, everything -- >> He would have won the nomination no doubt in my mind because he controlled the party apparatus. Keep in mind it is not until 72 we see reform of Democratic apparatus and move out of the unit rule to cause a lot of problems. Illinois controlled by Mayor Daley, Texas controlled by John Connally and leadership made a decision on who voted in Chicago and I think he had have got nominations. Of course, all kinds of variables, Kennedy is killed and McCarthy doesn't prove to be a very effective campaign. I think there's a probability, relatively high that he would have done fairly well. If Humphrey could get within 300,000 votes I think Lyndon Johnson would have pushed. But that's my opinion. Can't prove it. That was a good question and nevermind being contradicted. I'm married. Don't repeat -- I guess it is on film. I'm in trouble. >> I was a student at Kent State in 1968 finishing up masters in physics. I'm not sure if I'm in your picture but it could have been -- >> KYLE: I meant Ohio. >> That's a big difference. >> You could have been there too. >> No, no. I was also unfortunately on the faculty in Kent State in 1970. But my question historically I like to look back and ahead historically, what do you think is LBJ's long-term impact on the current political situation? Obviously he had a big impact on Democratic party, particularly in the south but what do you think is the long-term impact? >> Here is what I get a plug for. Come visit the library. When you go through the library I think the stands out and people not old enough or haven't really paid that much attention think of LBJ and think Vietnam but when you walk through the library and you see the 400 pieces of legislation that were signed by Lyndon Johnson and of course we got the pin outlined. How many have been there? There's still a lot of you that can go and we like having you there. If you see the environment, Medicare, civil rights. Yeah, you just go through whole litany and here is what I'm making argument in the book. I have to be careful here because I don't want to dive too much into contemporary today. I would argue very strongly the debates we are having today and Congress relate much more to the great society than any other part of our political continuum. Again, environment, civil rights. You know, education, Federal Government, Lyndon Johnson, NEH, NEA and go across the spectrum. Lyndon Johnson had significant impact probably not exceeded by FDR and since 1933 it is there. I would argue -- even Ronald Reagan made the point. I'm not against FDR but I hate the great society. didn't like Lyndon Johnson but accepts some elements of FDR. Listen to the debates today we are still debating Lyndon Johnson's legacy whether we recognize head start across the spectrum and that's in the book. I talk about the Pueble, well we have been dealing with North Korea for awhile. Dealing with Supreme Court nomination, the argument given against Abe Fortas and being promoted to Chief Justice and Homer Thornberry was a lame duck president should not be able to make that decision. Everything has continuity there and again, I think that's what makes it so important to understand the period and understand the Johnson Presidency and I am going to make this argument very strongly the 1960's are going to be a period of fascination in the United States throughout our history and right up there with the Civil War, World War II, this period. So I know a good thing is researchers will continue to come to the Johnson library to try to understand the issue even more so. I'm happy about that. If you haven't been, please come. We would love to host you. Austin is pretty good town, especially for barbecue. We do some things very, very well. >> I spent 27 years living in Texas before I relocated to Maryland. >> From where? >> Fort Worth. >> If it would have been Dallas it would have been different for me. >> I remember the newspapers the next day. I guess one comment would be as far as if Johnson how worse the '68 convention would have been with him trying to get to nomination. God knows it could have been worse. >> That's the problem. Johnson contributed to that and people have heard me say -- I talk about it in the book. Hubert Humphrey wanted to have the convention in Miami far away from the radicals of Madison and Berkeley. Make it harder on them. He also knew there was a higher probability with Mayor Daley's tactics that there would be confrontation. Johnson also appointed the chairman of the convention rather than letting Humphrey do it with Edmund Muskey. Johnson couldn't let go and had very -- you know, the saddest part in the whole book, it is his birthday in August of 1967 -- '68. He is at the ranch and thinking they are going to call him to come up to the convention. Maybe even be drafted, which is to say he would not have taken anyway but like to have been asked and starts getting information back about how contentious it is, how it would stir it up. Now, again, that's working on the premise too though of Bob Kennedy's assassination. All the different bad things that happen partly because he had announced the decision not to seek re-election. Chicago it had be hard -- it would be hard to get much worse than it was. >> Outset you said him and Busby were talking that Vietnam, had to get what was considered a blemish and considered that point a blemish on his record. I realize in his retirement and pretty much a recluse but was there any realization on his part when it took Nixon so long to end the war that Vietnam was going to be considered much more than a blemish on his record given how long it was taking to finish up? >> KYLE: That's a good question. Of course he would have looked at it and said If I would have been in control it wouldn't have lasted this long and 23,000 more Americans wouldn't have died. Then he would look and say if they would have interfered in the peace process and latter stages of my presidency and would have been a year and a half basically maybe we would have gotten something accomplished. It is ahistorical question and sometimes hesitate to answer because we just can't answer them. Don't know. So many variables and this is what I teach a lot -- I taught a lot in honors college at Arizona State which is the best honors college in the country. Barrett Honors College and I had incredible students and I got a lot of engineers taking classes for upper level on the Vietnam War and thing that always frustrated them was I couldn't put it in black and white terms. There was a lot of gray, a lot of nuance and they couldn't basically put it in the way they thought about the world. Now, a lot of them struggled. Couldn't put it on this and couldn't answer those kind of questions and there's natural law. There are none in foreign policy and politics. Natural -- I'm sorry, pull up science term but it is hard to find the natural law. So again, can't answer the questions but I do think I had go back and I had have done it better and always thought and I will give you one final sort of thing. Sort of speaks. He did not Richard Nixon. Trying to portray there was some kind of relationship, he was happy he won. No, that is not the case. The library was opened in 1971. See, I'm still learning. Only been there two months and got to learn it all and Richard Nixon came down for the opening and in the library we had a beautiful 10 story building and in the library they had a private suite built for the President. He had a special shower because he was a big man. Built for him with a lot of water pressure. Nixon comes up it is August in Texas and if you ever have been in August in Texas it is miserable. Nixon said I need to shower, soaked through the shirt. Almost like he had the 1960 debate over again with shadow and not doing well. Johnson says yeah, go take one in my shower. He forgets to tell him what water pressure is like. He stands outside and when Nixon gets knocked on his butt Johnson is laughing. So you can't see that because that's a special off the site place but we still have that suite and it is still just like it was in 1971 and remarkable place. I hope David has a chance to see it and that makes a point. Johnson did not like Nixon, he didn't trust Nixon he had a longstanding anymosity going back to and Senate race Nixon ran against Douglas he didn't forget easily because he was trashed. I can't answer some. I can only speculate. Any others? I think we are done. I want to say thank you for coming out on rainy day. Hope you enjoy. [APPLAUSE].

Contents

Candidates

Campaign

Incumbent Mayor John D. Butler did not stand for reelection. On March 8, 1955, Charles Dail came first in the primary election with 39.4 percent of the vote, followed by Harry L. Foster with 27.5 percent. Because no candidate received a majority of the vote, Dail and Foster advanced to a runoff election. On April 19, 1955, Dail received 50.7 percent of the vote in the runoff and was elected to the office of the mayor.[2]

Primary Election results

San Diego mayoral primary election, 1955[2]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Charles Dail 29,097 39.4
Nonpartisan Harry L. Foster 20,286 27.5
Nonpartisan Jerome W. Rudrauff 16,810 22.8
Nonpartisan Robert L. Stevenson 2,731 3.7
Nonpartisan Gerard A. Dougherty 1,396 1.9
Nonpartisan Sol Blanc 1,357 1.8
Nonpartisan Emilio P. Adams 1,220 1.7
Nonpartisan Richard L. Parsons 985 1.3
Total votes 73,882 100

General Election results

San Diego mayoral general election, 1955[2]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Charles Dail 42,897 50.7
Nonpartisan Harry L. Foster 41,660 49.3
Total votes 84,557 100

References

  1. ^ Pourade, Richard (1977). The History of San Diego Volume VII: City of the Dream, 1940-1970. San Diego: Copley Press. Retrieved September 10, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c "Election History - Mayor of San Diego" (PDF). City of San Diego. Retrieved September 9, 2017.
This page was last edited on 14 May 2019, at 03:48
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